Regulatory Energy Regime under Review

Last week, the UK Government announced plans to review the business energy tax landscape to consider approaches to simplify and improve the effectiveness of the regime.

This message was circulated to all CRC, Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme and Climate Change Agreement participants (who have been further advised to continue to participate in the various schemes until further notice).

This news is in part welcome but also worrying.  Current energy legislation is confused and uncoordinated – this must be addressed.

By way of example, last year, the Government issued consultation on plans to (amongst other options) scrap use of Display Energy Certificates.  At the same time the ESOS scheme was in process of being rolled out.  One of the core compliance approaches referenced in ESOS is … use of Display Energy Certificates!

The structure of regulatory requirements surrounding energy is confusing and a revised coordinated, and structured approach designed to help business understand energy and carbon emissions, whilst appropriately incentivising improvement, would be welcome from me.

However, over-simplification will ultimately make UK business less competitive. Furthermore, if the Government take a similar approach to that taken for Zero Carbon homes plans last week (i.e. scrapping everything) then we should be very worried indeed.

The Government has committed to launching a formal consultation in the autumn and I strongly encourage participation.

 

Goodbye GRESB (until September)!

So that’s GRESB done.  This year we supported many of our clients to complete their GRESB submission on a pan-European basis. It may be an onerous and tough task to complete but I personally applaud the GRESB approach. The industry pays increasing attention to the survey results (released on 2nd September) and I believe, over time, that it will help drive real change as participants strive to achieve Green Star ratings (whilst those already there, work to maintain their status).  The questions are broad ranging, covering everything from environmental policy to management of bribery & corruption.  This should not be surprising as GRESB is designed to be a broad sustainability benchmark.

We also felt that the prior experience of both the participants and GRESB helped in the completion of this year’s survey.  Pre-population of last year’s answers speeds up the process and the online survey is, for the most part, intuitive and easy to navigate around.  We also participated in the GRESB training earlier in the year, and this along with improved guidance, also helped.

However, there were still challenges.  The unique way in which GRESB requires performance data to be entered is understandable (to enable performance analysis), but always creates challenges.  Electricity consumption for directly managed assets can, for example, be entered under a variety of categories, i.e. whole building, shared services, landlord procured tenant consumption and tenant procured tenant consumption.

Consumption must also be reported for 2 years to benefit from like-for-like comparison.  This must then be repeated for different fuel types across all asset classes separately and aligned to floor areas reported earlier in the survey.  Participants then move on to water and waste.  Our experience is that many clients do not hold their data in this way and so, a lot of work to ensure accurate reporting is required.

Thankfully, this year, we had SIERA, a sustainability management software system designed specifically for the investor real estate market, which contains a GRESB reporting module.  The practical and intuitive nature of the system enables designation of data to meet GRESB classification requirements.  A GRESB export function then automatically produces the data at asset level which directly interfaces into the GRESB portal. This has been a fantastic resource for us and has helped save time and ensure accuracy.

More on SIERA

So, we await the results, with interest.

For those who have now shifted their focus to CRC, SIERA also supports and significantly simplifies the CRC annual reporting requirements – deadline 31 July!

Paul Sutcliffe

Operations Director

About EVORA

EVORA is a niche, independent sustainability consultancy specialising in commercial real estate.

For further information on GRESB or any other sustainability issue please contact Chris Bennett at cbennett@evoraglobal.com; 020 3326 7333.

About GRESB

GRESB (the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark) uses a consistent methodology across different regions, investment vehicles and property types, to evaluate the sustainability performance of both private and listed real estate portfolios. Over the past five years, participation in GRESB has continued to increase and GRESB is fast becoming the sustainability survey of choice for the real estate sector to benchmark portfolio performance. In 2014, a total of 637 property companies and funds participated in the GRESB survey, equating to approximately 56,000 assets, with an aggregate value of USD 2.1 trillion.


GRESB Premier PartnerAs a GRESB Real Estate Premier Partner, we are perfectly positioned to provide GRESB support. View our official Premier Partner profile.

We can work with you to complete the submission and understand your scoring, as well as develop a sustainability plan that will improve your future GRESB performance and align with your organisation’s key environmental objectives.